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IWG Virtual Workshop Helps Kentucky Energy Communities Advance Economic Development Projects and Revitalize Economies

The Interagency Working Group (IWG) on Coal and Power Plant Communities and Economic Revitalization hosted a virtual workshop today tailored to providing Kentucky’s energy communities with resources for economic transitions, workforce development and job opportunities.

“Kentucky is home to two of the top ten priority energy communities outlined in the IWG’s initial report to the President,” said IWG Executive Director Brian Anderson, Ph.D. “Today’s webinar offered an easy way for the leaders of those communities to learn about and access critical resources to help advance economic development projects in the region.”

This webinar focused on the $38 billion in federal funding opportunities currently available for America’s coal, oil and gas, and powerplant communities and highlighted lessons learned, best practices and advice from partners on the ground for building and sustaining relationships around the state.

Anderson was joined by local partners including Kris Williams, Chancellor of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System, Peter Hille, President of the Mountain Association, Colby Hall, Executive Director of Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR), and Brett Traver, Executive Director of Southeast Kentucky Economic Development. Attendees also heard from representatives from the Appalachian Regional Commission, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Department of Labor and the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration and National Telecommunications and Information Administration.

Following the webinar, attendees had the opportunity to join moderated, smaller-group discussions on relevant topics for Kentucky, like job development opportunities, health issues, agriculture and agritech, what the infrastructure bill means for the state, and charted potential plans and pathways for economic revitalization.

“The IWG can’t do the work it does without directly engaging with our nation’s energy workers and their communities. Today, we heard from Kentucky’s coal and power plant communities and the IWG is now in a better position to support economic revitalization efforts across the state,” said Anderson.

Established by an Executive Order during President Biden’s first week in office, the IWG is pursuing a whole-of-government approach to create good-paying union jobs, spur economic revitalization, remediate environmental degradation and support energy workers in coal, oil and gas, and power plant communities across the country as the U.S. prepares to undergo a historic energy evolution to a carbon emission-free electricity sector by 2035 and economy-wide net-zero emissions by 2050.

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